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Saturday, 1 January, 2000, 03:48 GMT
Mist and smoke blur Berlin lights
The Brandenburg Gates were the focus of Berlin's celebration
The Brandenburg Gates were the focus of Berlin's celebration
By Terry Stiastny in Berlin

The German capital welcomed the new century with lights raking the misty sky and with thousands of people setting off fireworks in the streets.

The Brandenburg Gate was the focus of the city's celebrations and organisers expected up to two million people to join in a party that should carry on until well into the morning of 1 January.

The light show at the Brandenburg Gate caused some controversy.

Controversy

The colours of the light show were changed at the last minute
The colours of the light show were changed at the last minute
Many critics said that the plan to illuminate the centre of the city with white lights along the avenue between the Brandenburg Gate to the Victory Column in the Tiergarten park was too reminiscent of similar techniques used in the 1930s by Hitler's architect, Albert Speer.

But the light show's directors altered their plans, and the show went ahead - although the outcome was disappointing.

Cloudy skies and the smoke from fireworks meant that it was hard to see the full effect of the display.

But if Berlin at midnight wasn't bright, it was certainly loud.

There were stages along the city's central avenue, Unter den Linden, and huge concerts taking place.

Real capital

During 1999, Berlin became the real capital of a united Germany once again; only two months ago, the Brandenburg Gate saw another huge celebration marking ten years since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Tonight, the illuminated dome of the Reichstag building - the home of the German parliament - was an obvious symbol of the way the country would like to see itself in the years to come.

For the hundreds of thousands of people celebrating in the streets of Berlin, the convivial atmosphere was a sign that they are looking forward to the twenty-first century being less turbulent than the last.

See also:

31 Dec 99 | In Depth
31 Dec 99 | Science/Nature
01 Jan 00 | UK
31 Dec 99 | Americas
31 Dec 99 | Asia-Pacific
31 Dec 99 | Asia-Pacific
31 Dec 99 | Asia-Pacific
Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


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